30 Commonly Confused Words

by Lily Chimenti

Even in college, people still confuse the proper usage of certain words. Why is misusing words such a big deal? Whether in a ten-page paper, an article, or even a tweet, misused words will distract the reader from what you are trying to say and cause them to judge how you say it. Also, misused words can confuse the reader and make them unsure of your intended meaning. Believe it or not, the difference between “your” and “you’re” is extremely important, and it will change your sentence drastically. So, know your words!  Without further ado, here are a few words from Alphadictionary.com’s list of commonly confused words, featuring some Writing Center themed examples:

1.) Accept– to take willingly.
Ex: Jonathon accepted Gina’s apology, and their friendship was mended.
Except– excluding.
Ex: Everybody wanted to go to the amusement part, except Allison.

2.) Affect– to influence.
Ex: The movie affected Danielle in a way that she never had experienced before.
Effect– a consequence.
Ex: The rain had a huge effect on the cancellation of my pool party.

3.) Advice-is a noun meaning “an opinion given with the intention of helping”.
Ex: Becca gave really good advice to John.
Advise-a verb meaning “to give counsel or advice”.
Ex: The professor advised us to not write this paper the night before it was due.

4.) By– shows location.
Ex: Steve put the pretzels by the chips.
Buy– to purchase.
Ex: After years of saving, he will finally buy his iPhone.
Bye– farewell or goodbye.
Ex: Bye, I will see you later.

5.) Here– refers to the place where you are.
Ex: Come over here!
Hear– to listen.
Ex: Did you hear what Tess said?

6.) It’s– contraction of it is.
Ex: Are you excited for Kayla’s party? It’s going to be so much fun!
Its– the possessive form of it.
Ex: The dog wagged its tail when the owner came home.

7.) Passed-the past tense of pass.
Ex: Daniel passed his old house and felt very nostalgic.
Past– a place in time that was before now.
Ex: It was in the past; it didn’t matter anymore.

8.) Right– correct.
Ex: We all knew that is was the right thing to do.
Write– to express oneself in writing.
Ex: Nichole had always loved to write.

9.) Sight-view.
Ex: Looking at the town from the top of the mountain was a beautiful sight.
Site– a place.
Ex: They chose the site where they set up camp very carefully.
Cite– to quote or mention.
Ex: Barbara taught me how to properly cite my sources.

10.) Some time-refers to a considerable period of time.
Ex: It has been some time since we last saw our cousin, Fred.
Sometime– an indistinct or unstated time in the future.
Ex: I guess I’ll see you around sometime.
Sometimes– an adverb meaning continually, off and on, occasionally.
Ex: Jackie sometimes watches Netflix for hours straight

11.) Than– is used to compare.
Ex: Tanner’s cow is bigger than the farmer’s cow.
Then- adverb, shows sequence of order.
Ex: We are going to do this and then go to the mall.

12.) Their-is possessive of they.
Ex: It is their turn to go on the ride.
They’re– is a contraction for they are.
Ex: They’re going on a picnic.
There-refers to a place that is not here.
Ex: Kelly is standing right over there waiting for us.

13.) To-is a preposition meaning “toward.”
Ex: Brooke goes to the lake every year with her family.
Two– the number between one and three.
Ex: Katie has two dogs.
Too- means “also.”
Ex: She went on the Ferris wheel too.

14.) Whose-is the possessive of who.
Ex: Lily wanted to know whose laundry was left in the dryer.
Who’s-a contraction for “who is”.
Ex: Who’s coming to the Writing Center this semester?

15.) You’re-a contraction for you are.
Ex: You’re always welcomed at the writing center.
Your-possessive for you.
Ex: Your trip to the Writing Center will be the best one!

Works Cited

 AlphaDictionary.  “Often Confused Words in English (False Cognates).”  Web. 08 Feb. 2016.

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